Have your say on council budget proposals
Residents are being encouraged to give their views on Barking and Dagenham Council’s 2021/22 budget proposals.
Following a decade of severe government cuts, the coronavirus pandemic has brought enormous challenges for our health service and a significant social and economic crises. That’s why the council has taken unprecedented steps to protect our residents and community during this hugely challenge time.
In response to COVID-19, we have provided critical support to residents in need, and together with other partner organisations, we have:
- Delivered food, medicine and support to over 2,000 vulnerable residents
- Provided approximate 250,000 lunches to children and young people who rely on our free school meals service
- Supported over 6,000 households through our community food clubs with weekly food packages and wider support
- Secured over 10 million pieces of life-saving PPE for care providers and other frontline services
- Offered financial assistance to 2,221 households, through our Homes and Money Hubs, helping residents to access welfare benefits, debt support and to stay in their homes
- Awarded £26.5m to 2,059 eligible businesses, and also delivered a discretionary grant scheme and awarded 221 businesses grants to a value of £1.2 million
- Provided over £250k of financial support through our hardship fund, which supports residents in crisis.
The last year has seen the toughest months we have all had to face,including financially, but we will continue to do everything we can to protect and support our most vulnerable residents while delivering the essential services we know matter to people.
Councillor Dominic Twomey, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services said, “The cost so far from additional spending to deal with the impact of coronavirus and lost income is £47m. While government grants have gone some way towards helping with this figure, it has not been enough and we’re still left with a shortfall of around £10m from responding to COVID-19.
“As it stands, for every £10 we have available to spend, £7 goes on caring for the most vulnerable people in our community before we can do anything else. That’s a huge hole to fill, especially when we’re already dealing with budget pressures caused by a decade of government austerity and an ever-increasing demand on all our services, particularly housing and social care.
“That’s why we’ve pressed the government for more help, but so far it hasn’t been forthcoming. It means we have to make our already overstretched budget go even further to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.”
To continue to provide key services for the most vulnerable in our community, the council is proposing to increase Council Tax by 1.99%, with a further 3% increase to be ring fenced to pay for Adult Social Care. In total, this would mean paying an extra £1.23 per week for the average band D property.
Councillor Twomey added, “The proposed increase means we can protect our support and services for the most vulnerable in our borough. Our residents are at the heart of every decision we make, and to protect services, we have transformed the way the council is run, delivering huge savings. We’re working much more commercially and being much more ambitious to unlock our borough’s unique potential, making our money go further.
“We’re bringing major investments to our borough which will reap huge benefits for our residents, including London’s largest film studio and three iconic markets, Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield which will come home to east London.
“The coronavirus pandemic has given us a fresh opportunity to look at what buildings we own and what facilities we need as a council moving forwards, as more and more of our workforce do their job from home. This will provide further savings and efficiencies in the future but will take time to deliver.
“We’ve also been going after rogue landlords who put profits ahead of people, fining fly-tippers who blight our borough and clamping down on companies who think they’re above the law.
“The last year has seen the toughest months we have all had to face,including financially, but we will continue to do everything we can to protect and support our most vulnerable residents while delivering the essential services we know matter to people like bin collections and highways repairs.”
Have your say
Residents can have their say on our 2021/22 budget proposals here.
The consultation will close on Sunday 31 January 2021.
Residents can also tune in to a special budget Facebook Live Q&A with Councillor Twomey and Councillor Rodwell, Leader of the Council, on Thursday 28 January, between 5.15pm – 6pm on the Leader’s Facebook page and can submit budget question ahead of the session by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.